The One Year Bible Reading for Wednesday May 16 is 1 Samuel 18:5-19:24, John 8:31-59, Psalm 112:1-10 and Proverbs 15:12-14. In 1 Samuel the story of David and Saul is getting really good. But the Scripture I’ve decided to focus on in today’s S.O.A.P. note is John 8:44.
For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies. – John 8:44
In this passage Jesus is specifically addressing the Jews who didn’t believe in him AND were seeking to kill Him. And to me, this is an important point to make. He did not consider the Jewish people evil. Many, in fact, believed in Him. Some would even lay down their lives for that belief. As such, we owe the Jews of that day a tremendous debt.
Evil, however, was alive and well in Israel – as in the rest of the ancient world – and it strongly opposed Jesus throughout his ministry. Sometimes this opposition was overtly demonic. At other times it was not. This is because, while some of the demons Jesus dealt with possessed people, most influenced them (while remaining mostly unseen).
In my opinion, this passage is addressing demonic influence, not possession. And I think that one of the reasons the things Jesus said made the people He addressed so angry is because they didn’t know they were being influenced at all.
But what is most interesting to me is what Jesus has to say about the nature of the devil.
While Jesus does say that the devil is evil and a murder, He puts most of his emphasis on the devil’s lies, saying that the devil “hates the truth” and that “there is no truth in him,” that lying is consistent with his character, and that “he is a liar and the father of lies.”
The deceit of the devil is a point Jesus strongly makes.
I understand that a lot of people don’t literally believe in the devil or demons. Having seen them first-hand, however, I do. And one of the most important things I have learned about them how very deceptive they are. I now believe quite strongly, for example, that many of my most seductive New Age psychic experiences were deceptive or demonic in nature.
This is why the Bible speaks so strongly against mediumship. We are just too easily fooled.
But demons don’t just appear to us. They also speak. Telling us lies that undermine our relationship with God. Predisposing us to things that enslave us. And tormenting us just like poor old Saul.
At this point in my life, I’m happy to say that I am not calling up demons. But I am still being lied to at times. Sometimes, particularly at night, I sense something of Saul’s torment. I know that this is because I have work to do. And I know that under the new covenant, the Spirit of God, is never withdrawn. Even so, for now, the spiritual warfare is ongoing.
So for me, John 8:44 is nothing if not reassuring. It reminds me that what we are battling is not truth. It is a lie and, as such, it has no substance. Because of that, it can never win.
Dear Heavenly Father. Thank you for this reminder that You are truth and the things I am struggling with are not. Forgive me for my worry and doubt. Help me to recognize and resist all lies of the enemy. Help me to remember that he is only a liar and cannot win. Give me the strength to live the life I need to live and take the steps I need to take. In Jesus’ name multiply my faith. Amen.
Last night wasn’t an easy night for me. About halfway through it, I started reading You Can Begin Again by Joyce Meyer. It is a lovely book and full of sound Bible based encouragement. If you are struggling I would recommend it. I would also recommend another wonderful book by Joyce called the Battlefield of the Mind which focuses on resisting the lies of the opposition.
Tomorrow’s Daily Scripture is 1 Samuel 20:1-21:15, John 9:1-41, Psalm 113:1-114:8 and Proverbs 15:15-17.
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